DOJ temporary suspends revised IACAT travel guidelines
DOJ temporary suspends revised IACAT travel guidelines
DOJ temporary suspends revised IACAT travel guidelines
by Ellicia Del Mundo31 August 2023
Photo courtesy: REUTERS

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday announced that the implementation of the revised guidelines for overseas-bound Filipino travelers is temporarily suspended to review the concerns raised by the public and lawmakers.

“In light of recent concerns raised by our esteem senators and to address the importance of transparency and public insulation, the Secretary of Justice, Jesus Crispin ‘Boying’ Remulla, has deemed it necessary to thoroughly clarify the issues surrounding the revised guidelines to both the senators and the public,” it said in a statement.

The DOJ said the recently issued revised guidelines aimed to “streamline departure procedures” and ensure a “more efficient and secure process” for departing individuals.

“The revisions were not intended to burden the general public but to rather enhance the overall experience of departing passengers,” it added.


The DOJ then noted that existing laws and regulations on travel and immigration procedures shall remain in effect until further announcement.

Last August 18, the DOJ through the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) issued the 2023 Revised IACAT Guidelines on Departure Formalities in a bid to combat the “evolving profile of human trafficking victims.”

Some provision in the guidelines stated that self-funded travelers need to show financial capacity or source of income as well as proof of employment and other equivalent documents.

A duly notarized affidavits of support and guarantee from a Philippine Embassy, Consulate, or Honorary Consulate are required to be presented if the traveler is being sponsored by relatives or non-relative.

First time departing Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWS) are mandated to seek travel clearance from the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). Meanwhile, unaccompanied minors traveling abroad must show a travel clearance certificate issued by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).


The new guidelines were supposed to take effect this Sunday, September 3.


Some netizens had expressed their disappointment in the new travel guidelines, saying that the tons of requirements are too hassle, inconvenient, and costly.

“Kawawa naman yung mga bibisita lang sa kamag-anak kelangan pang gastusan ng libo-libong piso para sa notarized affidavit tapos bawal copy so kelangang ipadala sa Pinas,” one netizen wrote.


“Pahirap maski sa sponsor living abroad. They’ll have to draft a sponsorship letter, find time from their busy work schedule to meet with a notary, THEN send the letter via UPS/FedEx. Sobrang hassle talaga itong Phil Immigration. Dapat magconcentrate na lang kayo sa pagscreen ng incoming foreigners who plan to do bad things to our kababayans!” another one said.

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said the IACAT guidelines “are unreasonable and puts an additional burden on Filipino travelers.”

"Hindi naman po ata makatarungan na bigyan ng dagdag pasakit ang ating mga kababayan na gusto lamang pumunta sa ibang bansa para mamasyal. Daig pa po nito ang visa application sa dami ng mga kinakailangang dokumento," Villanueva said.

He pointed out that combating human trafficking can be done in other means and not just by imposing stringent requirements.


Senator Jinggoy Estrada, meanwhile, filed an resolution urging the Senate to probe the new travel requirements.

"The right to travel is a constitutional right and possible restrictions on such right in the guise of stricter pre-departure guidelines which act as a watchlist against outbound Filipino travelers wanting to travel in the whims of Immigration officers may be illegal and should be thoroughly reviewed," Estrada said in his Senate Resolution No. 771.

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